Looking for an EDI developer? Think about full-service EDI instead

by | Nov 11, 2020 | Automation, Finance/IT, Suppliers

It’s no secret that technology talent is hard to come by these days, and an EDI developer is no exception. EDI developers are a rare breed with specialized and broad skills that make them especially difficult to find, such as:

  • Implementing and monitoring EDI systems, including data mapping, translation and interfaces
  • Ability to analyze EDI and data integration/transformation requirements from trading partners
  • Performing EDI daily support and projects, prototype data transfers using various methods including, but not limited to, EDI, SAP IDOCS, XML, AS/2, FTP, SFTP, and general network file transfers
  • Expertise in business systems specific to company needs across ERP, TMS and WMS 

Perhaps a trusted EDI resource has recently left your company, or even retired. Or maybe you’ve outgrown your current staff. If so, have you considered using a full-service EDI provider instead of hiring more developers? 

A third-party EDI provider can deliver the customizability, reporting, security and integration capabilities you need. And they’ll take ownership of many day-to-day EDI operational responsibilities — so your team doesn’t have to.

Here are three reasons to choose an EDI provider rather than adding more staff:

1. Focus your IT resources on more strategic tasks

If you work with retailers, grocers or distributors, EDI is probably a requirement for exchanging electronic information with customers. While EDI is a necessary function, it’s not a core competency for most businesses. 

Here’s a question to ask yourself: does having in-house EDI capabilities improve your company’s competitive edge in the market? 

If the answer is no, why should you dedicate IT staff to supporting a function that’s not core to your business? Why not have your limited IT resources focus on something that furthers your competitive advantage?

By using a full-service EDI provider, your IT staff can be freed up to concentrate on more strategic projects.

2. Support your IT needs with less work

Let’s face it. Managing EDI systems in-house is time-consuming. Experts estimate that around 95 percent of in-house EDI software is custom-built! 

Maintaining EDI maps alone is a massive effort. A different map is needed for each document type required by each unique trading partner, and these maps are often updated multiple times a year. EDI mapping updates can easily take up the lion’s share of an EDI developer’s time. An EDI developer must test, fix and debug existing maps, as well as create new maps based on new requirements.

In addition to supporting EDI maps and map changes, EDI developers also handle a host of other operational details such as:

  • Contacting business trading partners 
  • Troubleshooting errors and downstream effects
  • Building out EDI reporting tools
  • Monitoring data and connectivity

A full-service EDI provider handles the day-to-day tasks associated with your EDI operations. This translates to a dramatic reduction in work for your team.

3. Reduce costs

It’s important to evaluate how much EDI costs to implement, including the total cost of running an in-house EDI solution. Here are some of the costs to consider:

  • Staff members to operate and maintain your EDI system
  • Staff members to manage trading partner changes in maps and connectivity 
  • Software license and maintenance costs
  • Hardware costs, such as servers, storage and backup
  • VAN fees
  • Chargebacks for non-compliance due to outdated maps or errors

Full-service EDI solutions include all of the technology needed to handle ongoing EDI requirements, as well as staffing resources dedicated to keeping everything running. This is often a more cost-effective option than hiring additional EDI developers.

Consider full-service EDI rather than hiring more EDI developers. Learn more about how SPS Commerce Fulfillment (EDI) can help you cost-effectively address your EDI needs, without taxing your IT resources.

How much does EDI cost to implement? We worked with Forrester to dive into the numbers. Find out how apparel supplier Peter Grimm achieved a 372 percent ROI by using SPS Fulfillment.

Christina Borglund